Do you have a fat cat? Do you have a frisky kitten? Whatever type of feline friend you share your home with, it’s important to incorporate exercise into your cat’s daily routine to keep his mind and body in tip-top shape! Here are some fun ideas to keep your kitty moving:
1. Felines Like Friends
Contrary to the popular belief that cats are loners, they are most often social animals and actually enjoy the company of other cats! Two cats are more likely to play with each other and provide hours of daily exercise – well into their adult years. They (quite literally!) chase away each other’s boredom while their humans are away from home. Consider adding a second cat to your household if your kitty seems bored, but introduce them slowly to ensure they will get along.
If you’ve spent any amount of time around cats, you’ve noticed they can turn just about anything into a toy. Some cats can pass the time simply batting around a crumpled up piece of paper or an old hair tie, while others go bonkers chasing the red dot of a laser toy! Just consider the safety of any item your cat chooses to play with. For example, never point the laser directly into your cat’s eyes and, to avoid frustration, end a game of laser tag by landing the red dot on a treat or an actual toy that your cat can “catch.”
3. Tower of Power
Cats share a strong instinct to climb and hang out in high places. Provide a perch high up on a bookshelf, a cat shelf on the wall, or a tall cat tree and kitties have a purr-fect view for stalking. Plus, all that climbing is another method of exercise, increasing your cat’s balance and coordination.
Chances are, you’ve seen a cat respond to catnip by rubbing all over it, kicking at it, going crazy, writhing around on the floor…basically going nuts just by sniffing it. All that catnip action makes for great exercise. If your kitty is one of the 50% of cats in the world that is affected by nepetalactone (the chemical in catnip that gives cats that familiar ‘buzz’) then get your furriest friend some catnip toys to get your kitty feeling crazy!
5. The Magic Wand
Do you often wish you had a magic wand that would get your lazy kitty moving? Luckily, they exist – in the form of cat wand toys! Wand toys are basically sticks with toys on the end. Wave, twitch, tease and flutter the wand around randomly and watch your cat’s prey drive go into overdrive! Wand toys can be made of ribbon, feathers, or even catnip stuffed toys. The best part of playtime with wand toys is that you’re involved, so your cat is getting exercise and building your relationship at the same time. Remember to keep wand toys put away when you’re not using them.
6. Scratching Posts
Scratching posts aren’t only meant to save your sofa from cat claws – though they’re really great for that, too! Cats need to scratch in order to stretch and tone their muscles. So, although you may think that scratching is annoying, it’s actually necessary for your cat’s well-being. Provide scratching posts and scratching pads to help your kitty maintain his claws, leave his scent, and flex his muscles.
7. Cat Hockey!
A cardboard box or a laundry basket can be turned into a pinball playpen by tossing in a plastic ball or even a crumpled wad of paper. Or, how about some hockey? Let your kitty bat around a milk jug ring on a hard surface!
8. Hide & Seek!
Encourage instant playtime by hiding treats and toys around the house for your cat to search and discover. This is a form of environmental enrichment that, while it doesn’t provide a lot of physical exercise, will mentally stimulate your cat. You can also try giving your cat his treats or meals using a treat ball or food puzzle to mentally challenge him.
Try to spend about 10-15 a few times a day doing some sort of activity with your cat to keep his or her mind and body active and healthy for years to come!
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